I guess most of my true friends know by now. My not-so-true friends are probably oblivious of the fact. Anyhow, I am depressed and that is an emotion that is difficult to handle. It is also an emotion, or state of mind, I happen to be very familiar with. The reasons for depression are not that interesting. Obviously it has to do with the challenges in life that, although I am living in the ‘rich’ west, are too big for me too handle. A bad economic position and the fact that in my life I am the only one and there is no other one are the foundation of my depressive state.
What a lot of people do not seem to understand is that people fighting a depression are not seeking pitty or anyhting like that. Just accepting the fact that some people are not ‘the lucky ones’ and not ‘the happy ones’ in life would be quite enough. But as I said, that is something a lot of people are not able to accept somehow. They are continuously trying to ‘support’ the one with a depression by saying that life is not that bad and things will really get better. Well, my friends, that simply won’t sink into the minds of the depressed. There is however a simple way to prevent that emotional blockade that pushes people down instead of lifting them up: simply acknowledge the hardship. I for one cannot remember that any person at any instant on his or hers own instance told me that it is true that my life is a shambles and it is understandable that I feel bad about that. And that is where the problem lies. The root cause of feeling un-understood.
It’s not man’s mind to tell someone who is feeling bad that it in fact really is bad. People want to help in words (but usually not in acts though) and that is nice but at the same time that help is in reality making things worse. Because words fade away quickly. And saying that things ain’t half that bad is at the same time saying that the true emotion of the other is not true but an exaggeration of their situation. Statements like that are just making clear that the depressed is not to be taken seriously.
Depression is a very personal pathological state of mind. Not to be taken lightly because it can be quite dangerous. Believe me, I know. Been there, done that, didn’t ‘succeed’. So it is not to be shoved aside easily. And to be perfectly honest, in my experience it’s only really understood by people who in their own life have experienced depression. They are the ones who do usually not try to lift the others mind with words without a body. Because one thing depressed people do is use their words to express the reality of their life carefully and mostly strongly. Words with bodies, no empty words. No empty lines. No walls in between feelings and expression. Like artists. Because emotions are in fact the only real things in life. The rest that you see, hear of say is artificial.
So please, dear friends, never ever try to comfort me when I feel bad. Just give me space. Allow me to feel how I feel, no matter what you might think of it. Some people are angels of darkness, accept them for what they are. Rest assured, I’ll fight my way out of it somehow. And the day I won’t be able to win is the day I will not survive. And that is not a loss but a victory. A victory I often long for. One day I will have vanished into the great nothing (Taoists or Pooh readers might understand this).
Alice © 2012
The Great Nothing according to Chuang-tse:
Consciousness wandered North to the land of Dark Waters and climbed the Unnoticeable Slope, where he met the Speechless Non-Doer. “I have three questions for you,” Consciousness said. “First, what thoughts and efforts will lead us to understanding the Tao? Second, where must we go and what must we do to find peace in the Tao? Third, from what point must we start and which road must we follow in order to reach the Tao? Speechless Non-Doer gave him no answer.
Consciousness traveled South to the land of the Bright Ocean and climbed the mountain of Certainty, where he met the Impulsive Speech-Maker. He asked him the same three questions. “Here are the answers,” Impulsive Speech-Maker replied. But as soon as he started to speak, he became confused and forgot what he was talking about.